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Takeaways: Capitals Keep Good Times Rolling With First Win Over Kraken

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Capitals Kraken

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tom Wilson said at Saturday’s morning skate that the Washington Capitals didn’t want their statement win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday to be a one-and-done showing. Instead, they wanted to keep that momentum going, especially with the Seattle Kraken in town for the first time.

Wilson and the Capitals lived up to those expectations, and with powerhouse performances from Alex Ovechkin, Wilson and special teams, Washington was able to pick up their second win as many games and let the good times roll with a key 5-2 win over Seattle.

“It’s more fun to win, especially on home ice, so no complaints there. It was a fun game… we were a little slow to start, but we found our feet and guys pulled together and a win’s a win,” Wilson said.

Here are all the takeaways from the victory:

Ovechkin, Wilson, Sheary Help Power Capitals With Multi-Point Outings

In the Capitals’ first-ever showdown with Seattle, Wilson and Ovechkin provided the team’s only goals against the NHL’s newest franchise. They put on a show once again against the Kraken, and this time, it led to a 5-2 win for Washington, who fell 5-2 to Seattle the last time these clubs met.

Alex Ovechkin picked up three points, including a goal and two helpers. His PPG was his 34th goal of the season and the 764th of his career, putting him three goals away from passing Jaromir Jagr for the third-most goals in NHL history.

“It’s just nonstop. Every time he’s in a game, every time he’s on the ice, on the bench, if we don’t get a shift, he’s like, ‘Let’s go,'” Wilson said of Ovechkin’s impact. “He wants to score again. It’s just nonstop. He just has a drive that I’ve never seen before, and it shows in his game. He just keeps going, and he’s a machine.

“When he’s playing like that, you just try and complement him any way you can and get him the puck because he’s a force to be reckoned with. It’s a lot of fun to be around. He’s just got that passion and that drive that is really second to none.”

Meanwhile, Wilson, who scored the first Capitals goal ever against the Kraken, had a goal and assist and opened the scoring once again vs. Seattle. The 27-year-old was physical, leading the way with eight hits on the night.

Overall, the top line utilized its speed and skill, and two impressive plays led to a highlight-reel goal to open the scoring.

Ovechkin made a power move and dangled past Jeremy Lauzon while going into the offensive zone. He then protected the puck and stayed with the play until Wilson picked it up and deked forehand to backhand while crashing the net to put it past Chris Driedger while falling.

Wilson now has 16 goals on the season and is on pace to pick up a career-high 26 goals this season. Ovechkin, meanwhile, extended his point streak to three games while Kuznetsov has points in four of his last five games.

That tally also sparked the Capitals in a so-so start to the game, as Dmitry Orlov would score his second goal in as many games just 34 seconds later to make it 2-0. Orlov has now passed his total from last season with his ninth of the year.

Conor Sheary also struck twice and hit 100 career goals and 200 career points. He is now on a three-game point streak, with five points over that span. He also matched his 14-goal total from last season.

Capitals Power Play Continues To Click

Washington’s power play has had its fair share of struggles this season, but of late, it is on the rise. It came in clutch again, as Sheary struck on the PP to restore the Capitals lead in the secon. Sheary later added an empty-netter to seal the victory.

Later on, Ovechkin would strike from the office for the second straight game to give Washington another PPG and a 4-2 lead in the third.

Ovi now has 68 points through 55 games and is on pace for 99 points. John Carlson also picked up an assist on that goal and now has 11 points in his last 10 outings, while Nicklas Backstrom added a helper to move three points away from 1,000 in his career.

Overall, the Capitals were moving the puck well, battling in front and getting to the right areas. It led to success, as the team went 2-for-2 on the power play throughout the night.

Since Jan. 28, Washington has converted on 30.2 percent of their PP chances and has scored a power-play goal in 10 of their last 13 outings. That’s among the best in the NHL over that span, which is a step in the right direction.

“It’s definitely had an impact since halfway through January… to make a difference in the game and tonight was one of them,” head coach Peter Laviolette noted.

Jonsson-Fjallby Proves To Be Strong Fit, Fourth Line Comes Up Big

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby appears to be here for the long haul with Carl Hagelin out long-term after a “serious” eye injury, and he made quite the impact in his first game back up and 10th NHL game overall (which means he will require waivers when re-assigned).

AJF was fast and noticeable and seemed to have good chemistry on that fourth line. He was speedy, using his skating and physicality to add pressure on the forecheck. He was also solid in his own end and helped fill Hagelin’s void on the penalty kill as well. Overall, the 24-year-old picked up a shot and a hit through 12:16 minutes, with 1:44 minutes shorthanded. He also drew a penalty, hitting 20 MPH while doing so.

“He’s flying out there, every time he gets some space, it’s like, he just takes off,” Wilson said of AJF, adding, “he’s an awesome kid. He comes in, he does his thing. Fun to be around. That work ethic, you know, is noticeable. That’s all you can really ask for from a guy that’s coming in and just making an impact every shift he’s out there. It’s noticeable. It’s contagious. He’s working hard and he’s got some pretty sneaky skill out there… it’s fun to have him up.”

Meanwhile, the fourth combination was solid, especially Nic Dowd, who had a tremendous showing. He not only picked up an assist but also had three shots and four hits while going 11-for-17 (65 percent) in the face-off dot through 14:01 minutes.

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Ovechkin and Wilson have now both scored in each of the team’s tilts with Seattle so far.
  • Vitek Vanecek had another strong game. He came in clutch with big saves and stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage%) against his former club. Through 27 games, Vanecek is 12-7-5 with a .921 save percentage and 2.25 GAA. His play also continues to impress his teammates.
  • Lars Eller had a stellar night in the face-off circle as well, winning 9-of-13 draws (69 percent).
  • The penalty kill came up big once again, shutting down all three Seattle PP opportunities. The Capitals’ penalty kill is back among the top-10 best in the NHL with a success rate of 82.5 percent.
  • Washington blocked 22 shots, with Garnet Hathaway and Martin Fehervary leading the team with three each.

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